Microsoft Word 2010 – Bringing your documents to life

Nobody likes being bored and someone reading your MS Word 2010 document won’t be any different. There’s no need to go overboard but introducing some stylistic elements can help you get your information across more effectively. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to spice up your document.

Making information stand out
Facts, figures and blocks of text can be very dry. Adding visual elements and shapes can be a great way to grab the reader’s attention:

Sometimes just a flash of colour can help get information seen and absorbed. Let’s look a few ways that this can be done.

 All I did to achieve the above was to add a shape, add a blue fill, add some text, and embolden a Word for emphasis.  The Shapes menu can be found within the Insert tab. There are an incredible number of shapes to choose from but it’s usually best to stick with something simple so you don’t distract the reader from the actual message. In this case I selected a rectangle.

When you’ve created the shape you’ll see several options appear on the Format menu. One of these will be Shape Fill. Here you can select a colour and choose a Gradient as I did to create my finished shape. You can even fill a shape with a picture if it will have the desired effect. Select Picture from the Fill menu and then…

Word contains a range of built-in SmartArt objects that can really help push a piece of information to your reader in a visual sense. Navigate to the Insert menu and click on SmartArt. Choose one of the built-in templates to get started. You can then edit the SmartArt object as you would do any text or shape. Right-click on the object to bring up a context sensitive menu – use Format Autoshape to change the fill colour or the line style.

You’ll notice when you select the SmartArt object you will see the editing options change on the ribbon.

Document styles
If you look on the ribbon you will see a set number of styles that help you format a document. Headings and sub-headings help to break up the text. This is particularly relevant in today’s information-age where readers have a shorter attention span and prefers text in manageable chunks.

You can also change your whole document by selecting the Change styles button from the Home menu. The style set presets can give your whole documents a particular identity such as ‘distinctive’ or ‘elegant’.

You can create your own set of styles by editing each element individually. You do this either by right-clicking on a style element in the style group or by launching the full set of styles using the small arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the style group.

Don’t forget to use basic editing line bold, italics and underlined text to break up your document.

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